US wars of aggression and intervention
by William Blum The engine of American foreign policy has been fuelled not by a devotion to any kind of morality, but by the necessity to serve other imperatives: 1) to make the world safe for American corporations; 2) to enhance the financial statements of defence contractors at home who have contributed generously to members of Congress; 3) to prevent the rise of any society that might serve as a successful example of an alternative to the capitalist model; 4) to extend political and economic hegemony over as wide an area as possible, as befits a "great power". All of this in the name of fighting a supposed moral crusade against what cold warriors convinced themselves and the American people, was the existence of an evil International Communist Conspiracy, which in fact never existed, evil or not. The United States carried out extremely serious interventions into more than 70 nations in this period. Among these were the following: China 1945-49: The US intervened in a civil war, taking the side of Chiang Kai-shek against the communists, even though the latter had been a much closer ally of the United States in the world war. The US used defeated Japanese soldiers to fight for its side. The communists forced Chiang to flee to Taiwan in 1949. Italy 1947-48: Using every trick in the book, the US interfered in the elections to prevent the Communist Party from coming to power legally and fairly. This perversion of democracy was done in the name of "saving democracy" in Italy. The Communists lost. For the next few decades, the CIA, along with US corporations, continued to intervene in Italian elections, pouring in hundreds of millions of dollars and much psychological warfare to block the spectre that was haunting Europe. Greece 1947-49: Intervened in a civil war, taking the side of the neo-fascists against the Greek left which had fought the Nazis courageously. The neo-fascists won and instituted a highly brutal regime, for which the CIA created a new internal security agency, KYP. Before long, KYP was carrying out all the endearing practices of secret police everywhere, including systematic torture. Philippines 1945-53: US military fought against leftist forces (Huks) even while the Huks were still fighting against the Japanese invaders. After the war, the US continued its fight against the Huks, defeating them, and then installing a series of puppets as President, culminating in the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. South Korea 1945-53: After World War II, the United States suppressed the popular progressive forces in favour of the conservatives who had collaborated with the Japanese. This led to a long era of corrupt, reactionary, and brutal governments. Albania 1949-53: US and Britain tried unsuccessfully to overthrow the communist government and install a new one that would have been pro- Western and composed largely of monarchists and collaborators with Italian fascists and Nazis. Germany 1950s: The CIA orchestrated a wide-ranging campaign of sabotage, terrorism, dirty tricks, and psychological warfare against East Germany. This was one of the factors which led to the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961. Iran 1953: Prime Minister Mossadegh was overthrown in a joint US and British operation. Mossadegh had been elected to his position by a large majority of parliament, but he had made the fateful mistake of spearheading the movement to nationalise a British-owned oil company, the sole oil company operating in Iran. The coup restored the Shah to absolute power and began a period of 25 years of repression and torture, with the oil industry being restored to foreign ownership, as follows: Britain and the US, each 40 per cent, other nations 20 per cent. Guatemala 1953-1990s: A CIA-organised coup overthrew the democratically-elected and progressive government of Jacobo Arbenz, initiating 40 years of death-squads, torture, disappearances, mass executions, and unimaginable cruelty, totaling well over 100,000 victims — indisputably one of the most inhuman chapters of the 20th century. Arbenz had nationalised the US firm, United Fruit Company, which had extremely close ties to the American power elite. As justification for the coup, Washington declared that Guatemala had been on the verge of a Soviet takeover, when in fact the USSR had so little interest in the country that it didn't even maintain diplomatic relations with it. The real problem in the eyes of Washington, in addition to United Fruit, was the danger of Guatemala's social democracy spreading to other countries in Latin America. Middle East 1956-58: The Eisenhower Doctrine stated that the United States "is prepared to use armed forces to assist" any Middle East country "requesting assistance against armed aggression from any country controlled by international communism". The English translation of this was that no one would be allowed to dominate, or have excessive influence over, the Middle East and its oil fields except the United States, and that anyone who tried would be, by definition, "communist". In keeping with this policy, the United States twice attempted to overthrow the Syrian Government, staged several shows-of-force in the Mediterranean to intimidate movements opposed to US-supported governments in Jordan and Lebanon, landed 14,000 troops in Lebanon, and conspired to overthrow or assassinate Nasser of Egypt and his troublesome Middle-East nationalism. Indonesia 1957-58: Sukarno, like Nasser, was the kind of Third World leader the United States could not abide. He took neutralism in the Cold War seriously, making trips to the Soviet Union and China (though to the White House as well). He nationalised many private holdings of the Dutch, the former colonial power. And he refused to crack down on the Indonesian Communist Party, which was walking the legal, peaceful road and making impressive gains electorally. Such policies could easily give other Third World leaders "wrong ideas". Thus it was that the CIA began throwing money into the elections, plotted Sukarno's assassination, tried to blackmail him with a phoney sex film, and joined forces with dissident military officers to wage a full-scale war against the Government. Sukarno survived it all. British Guyana, 1953-64: For 11 years, two of the oldest democracies in the world, Great Britain and the United States, went to great lengths to prevent a democratically elected leader from occupying his office. Cheddi Jagan was another Third World leader who tried to remain neutral and independent. He was elected three times. Although a leftist — more so than Sukarno or Arbenz — his policies in office were not revolutionary. But he was still a marked man, for he represented Washington's greatest fear: building a society that might be a successful example of an alternative to the capitalist model. Using a wide variety of tactics — from general strikes and disinformation to terrorism and British legalisms, the US and Britain finally forced Jagan out in 1964. John F Kennedy had given a direct order for him to be outed as, presumably, had Eisenhower. One of the better-off countries in the region under Jagan, Guyana, by the 1980s, became one of the poorest. Its principal export became people. Vietnam, 1950-73: The slippery slope began by siding with the French, the former colonisers and collaborators with the Japanese, and against Ho Chi Minh and his followers who had worked closely with the Allied war effort and admired all things American. Ho Chi Minh had written numerous letters to President Truman and the State Department asking for America's help in winning Vietnamese independence from the French and finding a peaceful solution for his country. All his entreaties were ignored. For he was some kind of communist. Twenty-three years, and more than a million dead, later, the United States withdrew its military forces from Vietnam. Most people say that the US lost the war. But by destroying Vietnam to its core, and poisoning the earth and the gene pool for generations, Washington had in fact achieved its main purpose: preventing what might have been the rise of a good development option for Asia. Ho Chi Minh was, after all, some kind of communist. Cambodia 1955-73: Prince Sihanouk was yet another leader who did not fancy being an American client. After many years of hostility towards his regime, including assassination plots and the infamous Nixon/Kissinger secret "carpet bombings" of 1969-70, Washington finally overthrew Sihanouk in a coup in 1970. This was all that was needed to impel Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge forces to enter the fray. Five years later, they took power. But five years of American bombing had caused Cambodia's traditional economy to vanish. The old Cambodia had been destroyed forever. Incredibly, the Khmer Rouge were to inflict even greater misery upon this unhappy land. To add to the irony, the United States supported Pol Pot, militarily and diplomatically, after the subsequent defeat of the Khmer Rouge by the Vietnamese.
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